Saturday, January 16, 2010

Corman-osity: Deathsport (1978)

As I mentioned in my teaser, this is not a review that I forgot.  Instead, I put off this for quite a while due to David Carradine's untimely death.  I just felt it was in poor taste to joke about his movies, let alone one with 'Death' in the title!  Well, it's been over six months now, so the time has finally come.  This movie is the weird middle child in Carradine's Corman Trilogy, which consists of Death Race 2000, Deathsport and The Warrior & The Sorceress.  But wait, you say, these films have nothing in common?  Au contrare!  Race is set in the future and features vehicular manslaughter.  Sport is set in a post-apocalyptic time and features vehicular manslaughter, with a side of barbarians.  Warrior features barbarians, plus a magical sword.  It all flows, people!  Anyhow, I am here to talk about the middle film and not the rest.  Sarcasm- don't fail me now!  This is...
Basically, a whole bunch of shit went down.  Evidently, something called the Neutron Wars went down and made humanity turn to crap.  There are assorted city states that live independently of the wrecked and nigh-uninhabitable wastelands.  You may notice that, aside from the apocalypse stuff, this may sound similar to the plot of Land of the Dead.  Yes, yes it is.  The landscape is being inhabited by men known as Range Guides, hairy men in small outfits that act savage.  If you wanted another film in which Carradine wore almost no clothes, this is...well, another one.  He wanders around, but gets attacked by a group of soldiers that belong to one of the city states.  Amongst their weaponry are such diverse elements as Whistlers (see-through plastic swords), Death Machines (motorcycles with plates on them) and laser guns that appear to be un-mounted spotlights.  The effects used on these things are just damn ridiculous and one of the film's highlights.  He runs across a female guide who has a young girl that she tries to protect.  Since the story needs a push forward, that does not happen.  Instead, the group gets captured by one of the evil guys in the city that is definitely not Dennis Hopper and forced to compete in Death Sport.  I never would have guessed!
The film gets pretty weird and crazy from here on out, so try to keep up.  The lady gets put into some sort of weird psychedelic torture that requires her to be topless.  Well, when you hire a Playboy Bunny...  The group is forced into Death Sport, which resembles high stakes paintball more than anything with 'Death' in it.  The head honcho has a fun time with a hooker and gets choked to death.  I thought that this was a build-up to something else, but no, he just died.  In his place, crazed Ankar Moor (Richard Lynch) has a beef against Carradine's character and really wants to battle him to the death.  Hey guys, let's give him what he wants!  Richard Lynch vs. Carradine!  This will be exciting...oh, he's dead now.  Never mind.  There's a little bit more to it than that, but you get the drift.  Hairy guys = good.  Nazi guys with spotlight lasers = bad.  The End.
This movie is very weird, but I like it.  So much of it is just weirdness for weirdness' sake, which I'm totally down with!  Carradine is about as deadpan as he was in most of these movies, failing to really cut loose like he did in Death Race 2000.  Incidentally, I do feel odd using the expression 'deadpan' in regards to Carradine- thanks for asking.  This movie has Lynch chewing up the scenery like usual, so it has that going for it.  Oh yeah, there are also explosions, post-production lasers and plastic swords.  This movie is dramatically-overshadowed by the previous film, which is actually the same case as with Warrior.  It is honestly a shame, since the movie has a nice, low-budget charm.  It makes no damn sense, but it actually thrives because of that.  Does it lack the unsubtle political commentary of Death Race 2000?  Yes.  Does it have lasers?  Hell yeah!
Next up, I celebrate 500 posts here.  I do this by forcing myself to watch a movie that combines two things that I hate: Cloverfield and The Asylum!  Be very afraid, people!  Stay tuned...

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